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Many of our destinations are ideal for whale and dolphin watching but to see them you'll need to make sure you visit the right place at the right time.

Remember, however, we can tailor-make any itinerary based on your individual preferences. So, if you like to include a greater or lesser element of whale-watching included in your trip, we can easily arrange that.

Start planning your whale & dolphin watching trip

Start thinking about your experience. These itineraries are simply suggestions for how you could enjoy some of the same experiences as our specialists. They’re just for inspiration, because your trip will be created around your particular tastes.

Where and when to see whales and dolphins

Whales migrate to different locations throughout the year, depending on temperatures and preferred breeding grounds. Use our month-by-month guide to see the best countries to view whales and dolphins.

January

Antarctic

Best time to go: January to February

What you may see: Minke whales, sei whales, fin whales, humpback whales, southern bottlenose whales, orca (killer) whales, Peale’s, hourglass, Commerson’s dolphins

Join an Antarctic cruise for the opportunity to see minke whales, sei whales, fin whales, humpback whales, southern bottlenose whales and orca. You will often see whales from your ship, but excursions are often organised on small inflatable dinghies to get even closer.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in January:
New Zealand | Tanzania | Costa Rica | Mexico | Cambodia | Sri Lanka | Oman | Maldives

February

Peru

Best time to go: Year round
What you may see: Pink river dolphins

Five hours upstream by boat from the northern city of Iquitos, the Pacaya Samiria Reserve is one of the best preserved areas of rainforests in Latin America. Here the friendly Pink River Dolphin is commonly observed on multiple occasions during three, four or seven night expedition cruises. There is usually the opportunity to swim with these beautiful creatures in the wild for those brave enough.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in February:
Antarctica | New Zealand | Tanzania | Costa Rica | Mexico Cambodia | Sri Lanka | Oman | Maldives

March

The Maldives

Best time to go: January to April although dolphins can generally be seen all year round
What you may see: Spinner dolphins, common dolphins, spotted dolphins, whale sharks

For keen scuba divers, the Maldives will never cease to inspire. During the high season running from December to March visibility is often more than 25 metres, the water temperature almost never drops under 28°C and life under the surface is outstanding. Divers interested in big fish will be excited to know that whale sharks and manta rays are among the top attractions in the Maldivian waters.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in March:
Antarctica | New Zealand | Tanzania | Costa Rica | CambodiaSri Lanka | Oman | Maldives | Canada

April

Western Australia

Best time to go: March to July
What you may see: Whale sharks

Despite their name, whale sharks are actually fish. In fact, they are the biggest fish in the world. Ningaloo Deep is a specialist marine eco-tour operator focusing on whale shark encounters on the pristine reef. Pick ups are available from Exmouth with travel on a comfortable 50 foot vessel to meet the whale sharks and snorkel with them.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in April:
Australia | New Zealand | Tanzania | Costa Rica | Cambodia | Sri Lanka | Oman | Maldives | Canada

May

North Vancouver Island, Canada

Best time to go: June to September, March to May.
What you may see: Orca (killer) whales, grey whales.

There are several places where you can see whales around Vancouver Island. The stunning black and white orca spend much of the summer around the island. Boat trips from Victoria operate between April and October, although the best time to go is between June and September. From Telegraph Cove you can take a whale watching trip between June and September. Tofino is visited by Grey whales between March and May.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in May:
Australia | New Zealand | Cambodia | Oman | Canada

June

Middle East – Oman

Best time to go: Year-round
What you may see: Spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins

Dolphins can be seen along the shores of Oman, attracted by the nutrient rich currents of the Arabian Gulf, which are rife with tuna fish. In some places it is possible to encounter hundreds of dolphins together and they often surround the boat, playing, leaping and spinning in acrobatic displays.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in June:
Argentina | Australia | Brazil | Mozambique | New Zealand | South Africa | Oman | Canada

Whale spotting, Antarctica
Whale spotting, Antarctica
Whale Shark, The Maldives
Whale shark, the Maldives
Sperm whale, Kaikoura
Sperm whale, Kaikoura

July

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Best time to go: July to September
What you may see: Orca (killer) whales, humpback whales

Stay at the Mantaraya Lodge and near Isla de la Plata to see humpback whales congregating to court and bear young. Isla de la Plata is a short boat ride from the Ecuadorian mainland, which can be organised from the nearby lodge in Machallila National Park and can easily be visited daily. On a cruise round the Galapagos Islands you may spot humpback whales and orca during the journey and it is normal for the ship’s captain to divert course to allow the passengers a viewing.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in July:
Argentina | Australia | Brazil | Ecuador | French Polynesia | Mozambique | New Zealand | South Africa | The Cook Islands | Costa Rica | Oman | Canada

August

French Polynesia (Austral Islands)

Best time to go: Mid July to mid October
What you may see: Humpback whales

The Austral Islands are some 600kms south of Tahiti and every year many humpback whales visit this area to reproduce, calve and nurse. For a short season each year it is possible to experience a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with these magnificent creatures. Swimming with whales is a rare and unique opportunity but this remote place, with its clear waters, provides the perfect conditions for doing so.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in August:
Argentina | Australia | Brazil | Ecuador | French Polynesia | Kenya | Mozambique | New Zealand | South Africa | The Cook Islands | Oman | Canada

September

Southwest Australia

Best time to go: June to October, July to September
What you may see: Humpback whales, southern right whales

Several local operators have vessels for up close and personal encounters. Humpback and southern right whales also come close to the shore and it is possible to spot them from various lookouts located in Albany’s stunning coastal national parks. ‘Ocean Giants Lookout Kit’ offers everything people need for land based whale watching and can be obtain from Tourism WA, ideal for independent travellers. We can also pre-book whale watching cruises from Albany. Twenty two kilometres from Albany on the Flinders Peninsula, this award winning whale museum has old whale oil storage tanks (not used anymore) which have been converted into multimedia theatres featuring history on Australia’s whaling industry, relationships between whalers and sharks, 3D animated films etc; guided tours are also available Dolphin swims are available from the coast just south of Perth.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in September:
Argentina | Australia | Brazil | Ecuador | French Polynesia | Kenya | Mozambique | New Zealand | South Africa | The Cook Islands | Oman | Canada

October

Seychelles

Best time to go: October to November
What you may see: Whale sharks

Whale sharks are found around the Seychelles from October to November but they are quite rare to see. You may, however, see manta rays on boat trips or dives.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in October:
Argentina | Australia | Brazil | French Polynesia | Kenya | Mozambique | South Africa | New Zealand | Seychelles | Oman | Canada

November

South Africa

Best time to go: June to December
What you may see: Southern right whales

All nine species of great whale (but mainly the southern right whale) swim up from their cold southern waters to the coast of South Africa to calve. They frequent sheltered bays such as Walker Bay, and because these bays shelve very steeply from the cliff edges the whales come in remarkably close to the shoreline. It is this aspect of coastal geography that makes Walker’s Bay the capital of land-based whale-watching.

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in November:
Argentina | Australia | Brazil | Mozambique | New Zealand Seychelles | South Africa | Oman

December

Tasmania

Best time to go: November for the whales, all year round for dolphins
What you may see: Southern right whales, humpback whales, pygmy right whales, minke whales, orca (killer) whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins

Take a day trip to the waters of Freycinet National Park or Bruny Island where Common Dolphins and Bottle nosed dolphins play in the wake of the boats. During the migrating seasons you are also likely to see the Southern right and humpback whales from Bruny Island. There have also been sightings of the less common whales such as the pygmy right whale, minke whale and the killer whale (orca).

The following countries offer the best viewing opportunities in December:
Mozambique | New Zealand | Sri Lanka | Costa Rica Oman

Further reading